March 2020 Podcast: Old and New..with Lionel Richie

FeaturedMarch 2020 Podcast: Old and New..with Lionel Richie

As the old school song states, “Where do I begin?” I must admit. It’s been hard for me to make podcasts lately. Life is just a never ending steam of disappointments with a shimmer of good happening for me. But moreso bad than good mentally. It’s been a real struggle to enjoy things for long periods of time. And now the corona virus isn’t helping my mental state either. But, since we’ve all been quarantined, I’m forcing myself to try to get back to things I enjoyed. I can’t say whether or not I will make another podcast after this one. I will just take life as it goes and if I feel up to it, I will do it. It’s not like people listened a lot anyway so it’s not like there is a need for another person playing music when there are so many other podcasts better than mine.

But there I go again. Sorry about that. Anyhooters, here is a new one for you. Listen. Don’t. It’s there for whoever wants to consume. Thanks to anyone who does. And if you pass it, then that’s fine too.

Listen or download here –>March 2020 Podcast

Intro Song: The Regrettes – A Living Human Girl

1. Pearl Jam – Alright
2. Demi Lovato – I Love Me
3. The Weeknd – Until I Bleed Out
5. Circa Waves – Be Your Drug
6. Lizzo – Water Me
7. Janet Jackson – Make Me
8. Dana Dane – This Be the Def Beat
9. Beyonce’ – Don’t Hurt Yourself
10. R.E.M. – Driver 8
11. The Killers – The Man
12. Karyn White – Secret Rendezvous
13. Eddie Money – Take Me Home Tonight
14. Childish Gambino – Under the Sun
15. Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
16. Kygo & Whitney Houston – Higher Love
17. Phantogram – Pedestal
18. Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk
19. Brandy – I Wanna Be Down Remix

 

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Top Albums of 2019

Alright. It’s been a while, I admit. Life continues gets in my way. Constantly. And frankly it sucks. But I thought I would give you all a list of my top 50 albums of 2019. I like everyone else in the country depend on lists to get through life. So I thought I’d go ahead and show you mine, so to speak. I know some of these selections are nothing new if anyone knows me. And there were some surprises I must say. Music in 2019 was stellar for the DIYs, the left of center folks, and alternative music, and most IMPORTANTLY, WOMEN. Yup, women ruled this year in music. We were everywhere. And some of us finally got the LONG overdue recognition that was well deserved. Pop music – eh. Not so much to me. So. Without further ado, here are my favorites…in really NO particular order – OTHER than the top 10:

50. While We Wait – Kehlani

49. Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

48. Guache – A People’s History of Guache

47. Fitz and the Tantrums – All The Feels

46. Logic – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

45. Galcher Lustwerk – Information

44. Wale’ – Wow… That’s Crazy

43. Mark Ronson – Late Night Feelings

42. The National – I Am Easy to Find

41. Sudan Archives – Athena

40. Emily King – Scenery

39. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

38. IDER – Emotional Education

37. The Coathangers – The Devil You Know

36. Young M.A. – Herstory in the Making

35. Escort – City Life

34. Tank and the Bangas – Green Balloon

33. Girlpool – What Chaos is Imaginary

32. Charly Bliss – Young Enough

31. Harry Styles – Fine Line

30. Chance the Rapper – The Big Day

29. Fever 333 – Strength in Numbe333rs

28. Emeli Sande – Real Life

27. Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima

26. Jamilia Woods – Legacy

25. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

24. Beyonce’ – Homecoming: The Live Concert

23. Empath – Active Listening

22. Gallant – Sweet Insomnia

21. Backstreet Boys – DNA

20. Broods – Don’t Feed the Pop Monsters

19. GoldLink – Diaspora

18. Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

17. The Highwomen – The Highwomen

16. Bat for Lashes – Lost Girls

15. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR

14. Jenny Lewis – On the Line

13. Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness

12. Sturgill Simpson – Sound and Fury

11. Wallows – Nothing Happens

And the TOP 10:

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10. Anderson .Paak – Ventura

9. Tegan and Sara – Hey I’m Just Like You

8. Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby

7. Megan Thee Stallion – Fever

6. Dave – Psychodrama

5. Ex Hex – I’m Real

4. Ariana Grande – thank you next

3. Sleater-Kinney – The Center Won’t Hold

2. Brittany Howard – Jaime

…and NUMBER 1:

1. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You – There is no way you could escape the badass force that is Lizzo this year. 2019 was HER year. From the club to the radio to commercials, Lizzo was pretty much in every year, on every playlist, or playing in every car. She’s a beacon of light in a world that was filled and is STILL filled with hate and evil. Her views on body positivity and self worth is something all of us of every size need to hear and live by on a daily basis. She’s all about love y’all. And she’s not going anywhere, and for that, she made 2019 great for music.

That’s it for now. Have a wonderful new year everyone and fingers crossed 2020 is a stellar year for music.

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Throwback Thursday Album (a few days late): Sheryl Crow’s “Sheryl Crow”

SHERYL CROW LP 1996

 

I haven’t always been a fan of Sheryl Crow.

I’m going to date myself here but when Tuesday Night Music Club dropped, I wasn’t particularly fond of “Leaving Las Vegas.” It was slow sounding, and back then I was still a rap and hip hop head listening to WuTang Clan, Biggie, with the few rock bands that snuck into my tape (yes I was around for tapes) collection – Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M, The Black Crowes, etc. These were all artists that kept me awake, alert, and entertained. And I wasn’t thrilled with Sheryl’s voice overall. The, like most teens my age, “All I Wanna Do” dropped, and I instantly changed my tune towards her. It was fast, funny, and had a great melody. Pretty much pop rock gold, which turned into platinum for her. Followed by “Can’t Cry Anymore” and I was pretty much hooked.

Then her second album, “Sheryl Crow,” finally arrived. I remember vividly ordering the tape from our campus store (which stopped selling cassettes and instead sold cds for EVERY artist) and once it arrived, I was completely blown away with it. She produced it, which back then and now for that matter – for a woman to produce her own music – pretty much unheard of  unfortunately. While Bill Botrell was behind the debut album production, this one was Sheryl. Plus 1. It was filled with just absolute greatness. I can’t say back in 1996 offhand that every cassette I owned was great from beginning to end, but THIS album my dear friends was. Every song to me, was a potential single, and every song had a message, hiding behind the pop rock and the quirky sound effects. The melodies worked extremely well with her voice and the lyrics were simple yet effective. And let’s face it on a “A Change Would Do You Good,” there were hand claps. I’m a fan of the hand claps. More songs need hand claps. That was a no brainer hit.

“If It Makes You Happy” to this day makes me laugh – not in a mean way, but the chorus kills me. “If It makes you happy, it can’t be that bad. If It makes you happy then why the hell are you so sad?” Why does it kill me? Because this chorus reigns true to life to this day, 21 years later. Things that make people happy should make us happy, not sad. If it makes us sad, then we shouldn’t continue to do things that make us sad. It’s just that simple. Plus 2. I also love the fact that while she sings the chorus, it comes completely across as shouting to me – as if she was trying to drive the idea home. I hear ya Sheryl. I hear ya. Even my mom thought this was a hit and she doesn’t like anyone.

Another favorite of mine, “Sweet Rosalyn,” is about a woman who keeps her head above water, working just enough to get by but she needs something to keep her going, to continue the fight, to keep her moving forward as they say. My favorite line is “Well, maybe we all could use a little grace to know when to run and when to stay in one place.” It’s not a long song lyrically, but it still makes an impact with the instrumentation. Between the slide, the dobro, and twangy guitars, I was pretty much sold on this one. Sheryl throws down on this one y’all. Check out this video of it.

 

 

I will always support Sheryl because I remember her fighting with Walmart in regards to the song, “Love is a Good Thing.” For those who don’t know, there’s a lyric about kids who use guns they purchased at Walmart. At that time, it was very true. And Walmart didn’t take too kindly to her statement (despite the stories hitting the news revealing where the guns came from) and removed her album from the stores. She stood firm though, and she didn’t give in. That to me, was completely awesome. And fierce. You rule Sheryl. She wanted it to be known that we need to do something about gun control. She sings it so nonchalantly but in doing so, made a big statement. Plus 3.

The opener, “Maybe Angels” is the song that kicked off my love for this album…the piano in particular. It just sounds so weird with the guitar riff that it fits. So weird. But it fits. And the subject matter about not being able to feel angels, but they are around. “I swear they’re out there, I swear…” It’s a mid tempo toe tapper (Say that FIVE times fast. I dare you. It’s ok. I’ll wait.” She finds angels to be mysterious, but she knows..she has a feeling…that the unexplained..can only be answered by angels. The rockers who have passed away, they’re coming back too. Ok, Sheryl. I believe you.

I won’t go on and on, but this is truly a great album. From beginning to end, it entertains, and you hear something different with each listen. AND she broke the dreaded second album slump AND the “Best New Artist” curse that hits many after winning a Grammy. Thank you Sheryl for releasing a perfect pop gem. My ears thank you as well.

 

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Bea Miller: No Apology Necessary

Just wanted to tip my fellow earbudders on a young singer named Bea Miller. Every few years, there is a female singer that strikes the heart of young folks and older folks like myself. Bea Miller is that singer at the present moment. With her heartfelt lyrics about fitting in, standing up for yourself, growing up, and taking life as it comes, her album, “Not an Apology” is just that – not an apology for who she is. In a time where females are expected to be perfect with no flaws, Miller takes her flaws and wears them like a badge of honor. She is open about her fears, her loves and securities. It takes guts to put feelings into a song for those to accept or reject. But she is a delight in taking that risk. She calls people out for how she was treated (Paper Doll), dares people to change (I Dare You), and just plain rocks out with no regrets (title track), and takes charge of her actions (We’re Taking Over). I think it’s pretty much pop gold for the summer. If you have never heard of her, I suggest you go and listen to her. You won’t be disappointed.

As pop gooeyness as this album is, “Young Blood,” the opening track, is my particular favorite. “But in dark times when we close our eyes, it’s a nightmare, it’s a nightmare. When the sun don’t shine we lose our minds but I swear we can get there.” That’s my favorite verse. I believe, and I could be wrong, that she’s trying to convey the idea of doing things for ourselves despite the trials. We can run away from our troubles, but we eventually have to go against them head on and we WILL overcome them all because we’re young and strong. We can’t be destroyed. Wear the strength well and use it to your advantage. Nothing is perfect, but we can try and trying to overcome is betting than nothing. Don’t give up, and don’t back down. It’s a great song and a great attitude to have.

So cheers to Bea Miller for helping people get through life, and helping us realize we’re not alone. There are many of us, of various ages, trying to make it through life one day at a time. And no we’re not apologizing for it.

She’s so young, but with an old soul. And that, my fellow earbudders, is my review of the moment.

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Album of the Week: The Veronicas

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The one good thing about the fall I enjoy is record companies issuing releases in time for Christmas (or whatever else you might celebrate). It’s like their last push for music ear budders like myself to get into new bands or singers that we might not have heard anything from and I dig that. That being said, this is a band that is a perfect example. I don’t know much about The Veronicas other than they’re Australian, they’re twins, and they have a single called “You Ruined Me.” When I heard this first single, I was a little hesitant because I thought, “Ok, here we go, another band writing sad sap music and singing about a love lost.” So when I was sent their latest self tilted album I already had a preconceived notion. I have to say, I couldn’t have BEEN more wrong if I tried. These ladies are, as Robbie Williams says, “the tits.” They do not disappoint. Lisa and Jessica Origliasso have made an album that captures all the best in music today – melodies, dance, pop, electronic, solid songwriting, and vocals. If this album doesn’t sell well, it’ll be a tragedy because they really really are wonderful. Stand out tracks – really, the WHOLE ALBUM. It’s a rarity that I go for every song on an album. Most albums have at least two songs of filler. But these ladies know their stuff. They know what works, and what doesn’t. They really have something for everyone. Let me give you a run down of a few tracks:

1. Sanctified – A sexy sultry boot stomping “take me to the river” jam about love and the feeling, the intense feeling you get when you’re wrapped up in it. Truly beautiful.

2. Do You Miss Me? – If you are a fan of electronic music with a hint of synths and industrial elements, then this is right up your alley. It’s dance-y, bouncy, and honestly… a rap song lol. Trust me. It’s excellent. Their raps intertwined with industrial undertones can be compared to any rapper out there today. I’m not lying. It’s good shit.

3. Cruel – Easily a radio hit. It’s reminiscent of bands like Paramore, Sleeper Agent, Echosmith, and the like. It’s very catchy. The main objective: being upset at the ex boyfriend who shows off his new flavor of the month, and virtually ignoring his ex.. And every time she sees them together, it is like a knife to the heart. She sees it as a cruel and heartless. She wants him to miss her. We’ve all been there haven’t we?

4.  Line of Fire – Another sexy tune but with a hip hop beat behind it. The vocals just ooze sex if that’s possible. They’re setting you up for the kill. They know what they want and won’t expect anything less.

5.  Teenage Millionaire – Another dance track about a love affair that they treasure as the richest thing in their lives and that relationship is so grand it makes them famous. If only all love could be like that, no?

6. Born Bob Dylan – This is truly a standout for me. The lyrics are wonderfully beautiful. She is trying to capture how she feels for someone but can’t. She tries. But can’t, so she wishes she could be as poetic as Bob Dylan. She struggles because she KNOWS how she feels in her heart, but words seem to escape her. It’s another radio friendly potential single that is an absolute winner for me.

I love this album folks. I won’t reveal all the tracks. But I thank The Veronicas for giving me faith in good pop music again. So many influences are heard in this album. If you want to hear an array of entertainment, I suggest you give them a listen.

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Coldplay’s Ghost Stories.

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I admit. I’m a Coldplay fan. In doses, but I do like them. Do I love them? No. Do I think they’re going to save music? Of course not. But I guarantee when I hear Yellow or Fix You on the radio, I do sing along. Can’t help it. The tracks are catchy. And Chris Martin knows how to write a good radio song. Their last album wasn’t the greatest to me but that’s just me. So when I heard Ghost Stories was going to be released I had hopes this was going to be better than the last. What I got was a diary it seems into Chris Martin’s life and his feelings towards his impending divorce with Gwyneth Paltrow. All of Coldplay’s albums are reflections of what is going on with band members’ lives at the time. But this album overall has a sense of sadness and regret. The funny thing about the album is that he never really sounds convincing vocally. You usually hear emotion in voices when they sing about their issues in their lives. But his voice just remained constant for the most part.

Most of the songs on this album are either mid tempo or just plain slow. I would play this album if I’m having problems sleeping but if I’m just relaxing this isn’t the music to listen to. It IS the album to listen to after a breakup – preferably huddled in the fetal position with a box of kleenex beside you.  He loves the love of his life (presuming it’s Paltrow) and he misses her and remembers the good in the relationship.  In the beginning he is obsessed with her and she’s always in his thoughts, as stated in “Always in My Head.”  But by the end of the album, on a song called “O” he is reflective and wishes to fly with the former love at some point. I take it he’s saying maybe after time they will find each other again.

I won’t go into each song as I thought about doing because I didn’t want to interpret completely the whole work. There is only ONE real fast song that doesn’t fit the overall theme of the album. “A Sky Full of Stars” is a beautiful dance song. It is. I’m sure it will be remixed countless times. The point of the song is that his love is so bright, she could light up the sky. Again, Martin, you know how to write a good song. You won’t be single for too long.

My particular favorite song is “Magic.” It’s an r&b song. It’s comprised of a sparse beat and easy going lyrics. No interpretation needed. It’s a winner. A no brainer. And I hope this song makes the album a success.

Overall, it’s an ok album. The music itself is gorgeous arrangement wise. And I do believe if you listen to it enough you will finally see the light after a breakup. It’s a therapy headphone record. Better than the Mylo album. But not as good as Viva La Vida.

 

 

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The Best and Worst is There to Comfort You…

Here is a list of a few artists that are on rotation on me pod..

And in my head.

Again, in no particular order.

Judas Priest-British Steel

Lisa Stansfield – Affection

Beastie Boys- Ill Communication

Brand Nubian – The Very Best of Brand Nubian

R.E.M. – Monster

Velvet Revovler – Contraband

Devo – Greatest Hits

New Ediiton- Gold

High Fidelity Soundtrack

Tegan and Sara – Dark Come Soon, and Sheets

LInkin Park – Given Up

Eminem – 3 A.M.

Black Sabbath – The Dio Years (RIP James Dio)

Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II

Hoobastank – The Reason

The Smiths – The Singles

Elton John – Greates Hits

Mary J. Blige – My Life

Alicia Keys – Unthinkable (I’m Ready)

Just a few to tide me over…as you were:-)